PMP Introduction

A brief introduction to the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification including eligibility criteria, application process, administration, exam format, exam fee, and list of important documents.


Project Management Professional (PMP®) is the world’s most recognized and coveted certification for project management. It is accredited by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), USA. It is meant for experienced project managers who have at least 3 years of project management experience. If you are looking for an entry-level project management certification, consider the CAPM® certification, which requires no prior experience.

The eligibility criteria and other aspects of the PMP certification are clearly explained in the PMP Handbook (link is in the section below).


Here’s a brief summary of the PMP Handbook:

  1. PMP certification is accredited by PMI.
  2. You need at least 3 years or 4500 hours of project management experience at the time of submitting your application.
  3. You also need to go through 35 hours of formal project management education or training.
  4. PMP exam is usually a computer based test, though paper based test option is available under special cases.
  5. PMP exam is administered in English but language aids are available for 14 languages upon request.
  6. PMP exam is administered by Pearson VUE at their testing centers. You need to book your exam date and go to a test center to take the exam. PMP exam cannot be taken online, unlike the CAPM Online Proctored exams.
  7. PMP application needs to be submitted online through PMI’s Certification Portal.
  8. PMI application may get audited on random basis.
  9. The exam fee is $555 for non-members, and $405 for PMI members (membership fee is $139 - a net saving of $11 plus other benefits).
  10. PMP exam is 4 hours in duration and consists of 200 questions, of which 25 are pretest (not scored) questions.
  11. Some questions may require the use of a calculator. Calculator is built into the exam software, but you can also request a physical calcuator during the exam.
  12. There is no official break during the exam, but you are allowed to take breaks at the expense of your own exam time.
  13. PMP exam ‘syllabus’ is outlined in the PMP Exam Content Outline.
  14. The PMBOK Guide is the main reference guide for the PMP exam.
  15. PMI does not disclose the PMP exam passing score.
  16. After you take the computer based exam, you’ll get your result immediately on your computer screen. You’ll also get a printed copy of your exam score report immediately at the test center.
  17. If you pass the exam, the PMP certificate would be mailed to you within 6-8 weeks.
  18. PMP certification is valid for 3 years. During these 3 years, you need to earn 60 PDUs to renew your certification.
PMP Exam is NOT based on the PMBOK Guide. It is based on the PMP Exam Content Outline.

Important Documents

Here’s a list of all the important documents that you should download and read before you proceed.

PMP Handbook

PMP Handbook details various aspects of PMP® certification including the eligibility criteria, application process, fees, exam structure, exam administration, scheduling, etc. It would take about 2 hours to read this handbook, but it’s a worthwhile investment of time if you are serious about the certification. Take the time to download and read this document before you proceed further. You would need to refer back to this document along your certification journey.

Download PMP Handbook

PMBOK® Guide, 6th Ed

PMBOK Guide is the main reference guide for PMP. In PMI’s own words, “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is PMI’s flagship publication and is a fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry.”

The Guide comes in both PDF and hard-copy format. If you become a PMI member, then you can get the PDF version of the Guide for free and save on the exam fee too. Read 10 Benefits of PMI Membership for details.

Download PMBOK Guide 6th Ed

PMP Exam Content Outline

There’s a common misconception that the PMP® certification exam is based on the PMBOK® Guide. Let’s dispel this myth right away. The PMP® certification exam is based on the PMP Exam Content Outline and “not” the PMBOK® Guide. With this clear, go ahead and download the content outline and take about 10 minutes to glance through it. It won’t make a lot of sense in the beginning, but will come in handy later.

Download PMP Exam Content Outline

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

In order to apply for any PMI certification, you need to agree to abide by the PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct. Your certification exam may have direct or indirect questions on this topic. Please take the time to go through the document at the link below.

PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Last updated: February 02, 2020